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Tips for dog owners

Although dog owners in Switzerland are no longer obliged to attend training courses with their dogs, such courses are still recommended, as owners are ultimately responsible for their four-legged friends. Here are a few tips on how you can make the hottest days of summer more bearable for your dog and what to watch out for when looking after your dog's coat and paws.

Dog training courses – optional, but nevertheless, a good idea

Good training is very important if you and your dog are to live in harmony. Since the end of 2016, dog owners in Switzerland are no longer obliged to attend training courses with their dogs. However, all existing animal welfare regulations regarding dog ownership still apply. This includes areas such as social interaction, exercise, housing, treatment, responsibilities and registration obligations. Individual cantons may also continue to prescribe courses based on cantonal dog laws.

Summer heat – how to make it bearable

The heat in summer can be exhausting for dogs too, and can even be fatal. As dogs can't sweat, physical exertion in the heat or being left in a hot car can cause fatal heatstroke much faster than in humans. However, it's very easy to make summer an enjoyable time of year for your dog and make the heat more bearable.Avoid hot streetsPaved streets heat up very quickly – something we tend to forget thanks to the luxury of shoes. By the time the air temperature reaches 25 °C in summer, asphalt can be as hot as 50 °C. This can result in your dog's paws becoming chapped or burnt.Provide plenty of water Just like humans, dogs also need to drink plenty of water in hot weather. We recommend filling up your dog's water bowl several times a day and not placing it directly in the sun to avoid bacteria from multiplying.Smaller portion sizesOn very hot days, your dog will find it difficult to digest large amounts of food. You will probably also find that your dog won't need to eat quite as much when it’s hot.Do not leave your dog in the carParking your car and leaving the window open a crack is not enough. Each summer, many dogs suffer great distress and die from car heatstroke. If you see an animal in distress in a car and the driver is nowhere to be found, you should call the police. Red flags include excessive panting, howling and whining, as well as lethargy or unconsciousness.Keep your dog coolWhen the temperatures rise, any opportunity to cool off is appreciated. A relaxing stroll by a lake or stream, a children's paddling pool in the garden or an old, wet t-shirt will all offer welcome refreshment.

Look after their coat and paws

Regularly brushing your dog's coat serves to clean and air it out. This helps the coat remain thick and glossy, and reduces the risk of skin diseases and eczema. Regular brushing is particularly important when your dog shed’s its coat as this will help remove the old hair and promote new growth.Frequent bathing should be avoided as soap strips the hair of its natural oils, meaning that dust and dirt will settle much quicker on your pet’s coat. Only special dog shampoo should be used. Splashing around in the lake or stream, on the other hand, is not a problem as this won't affect the hair's texture.Do check between their claws and examine their pads regularly for small lesions or signs of inflammation. In winter, it is recommended that you clean your dog's paws thoroughly in lukewarm water to remove any road salt, after a walk.